The Importance of Digestive Enzymes and the Need for Supplementation for Some People

Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring and crucial to your digestive system, helping to break down foods and allowing the absorption of nutrients. Without adequate enzymes, you can become malnourished and start showing signs of gastrointestinal distress, even when consuming a balanced and healthy diet.

Understanding Digestive Enzymes: Natural and Synthetic

The mouth, small intestine, and stomach can produce digestive enzymes; however, the pancreas is the main production factory in the human body. The enzymes are particularly vital in breaking down more complex and nutrient-dense foods and compounds, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Without digestive enzymes, your food will not provide sufficient nutrients because the body cannot break it down. Therefore, your health can wain.

Most people do not have an issue with enzyme production, but some conditions lead to an inadequate enzyme supply, such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Thankfully, there are prescription and over-the-counter digestive enzyme replacements. Replacements mimic natural digestive enzymes to counteract the effects of poor production.

Using Digestive Enzyme Replacements

As a replacement for natural digestive enzymes, replacement enzymes need to be consumed before a meal to be effective. The enzymes in the stomach can begin breaking down the food as it enters the stomach and exits to the small intestine, allowing critical nutrients to absorb through the small intestine wall for distribution through the bloodstream.

You can split an enzyme replacement dose to make it more effective, especially for larger and longer meals or if you are a slow eater. For instance, it is usually acceptable to take half the dose at the start of a meal and the rest halfway through it.

Digestive enzyme replacements must be taken with food. If you take them without, they will simply work their way through your system without any real benefit.

Assessing Needs for Digestive Enzyme Replacements

While most people do not need digestive enzyme replacements, there are many conditions that can result in a lack of enzymes, such as EPI. Some of the other conditions include:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic surgery
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cysts or benign tumors
  • Narrowing or blockage of the biliary or pancreatic duct

EPI is the most common cause for digestive enzyme supplementation, but not everyone realizes they have the condition immediately. EPI leads to uncomfortable and slow digestion, and some of the symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Cramping after meals
  • Foul-smelling stools
  • Yellow, greasy, floating stools
  • Unexpected weight loss

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your primary care physician. Do not attempt to self-diagnose digestive enzyme disorders. While OTC enzyme replacement options exist, it is always best to consult your physician before dietary changes.

Reviewing the Potential Side Effects

Digestive enzyme replacements are often helpful to those who need them, but there are potential side effects like any other supplement. The most common side effect of enzyme supplements is constipation. Still, there can be more uncomfortable side effects, like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

While the body needs digestive enzymes, not every body creates a sufficient amount, leading to potential digestive and nutritional problems. Before looking for OTC remedies for digestive concerns, talk to your doctor about other possible issues or solutions.

Do you know of any other reasons someone would need to take digestive enzyme replacements, or do you have anything to add to the conversation? Comment below.

Save Your Scalp From Breakouts

Nothing ruins a good hair day like discovering a blemish on your scalp. The abundant oil glands and hair follicles are at the root of acne in this area. Over time, a buildup of oil along with dirt and dead skin cells can clog the pores, leading to pimples. Styling products such as gel, hairspray and mousse compound the problem by leaving residue behind. 

If you regularly experience acne around your hairline and beyond, you know how frustrating it can be. These smart strategies can help you banish scalp breakouts.

Switch Up Your Routine

Start the process of clearing up your scalp with a new hair care routine. Any products you use, including shampoo and conditioner, should be oil-free. Look for labels like anti-acnegenic or non-comedogenic to find formulas that won't clog your pores. This also applies to cosmetics like foundation and powder, as well as moisturizers, lotions and other skincare products.

You can try medicated shampoos with ingredients that help with the causes of scalp breakouts, such as:

  • Benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil, which fight bacteria that leads to acne
  • Ciclopirox and ketoconazole, which combat fungal causes of acne
  • Glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which remove dead skin cells that clog the pores
  • Jojoba oil, which alleviates inflammation associated with acne

Skip hair products when you plan to stay home and try to use fewer formulas in general. Using multiple cosmetic items increases the chances of irritating and inflaming your scalp.

Step Up Your Schedule

If you tend to go more than a day or two without washing your hair, consider shampooing more frequently to stay on top of breakouts. It's especially important to wash your hair after you work out to get rid of excess sweat, dirt and oil. 

When you shampoo, focus your efforts on your scalp to clear away clogging materials. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to gently exfoliate the area. After washing and conditioning your hair, be sure to rinse completely. Soap and product residue can cause breakouts along the hairline.

Keep It Clean

Contact with bacteria causes acne, so anything that touches your face, neck or head should be washed often. This includes pillowcases, bedding hats, headbands, visors and scarves. Clean phones and headsets frequently with antibacterial wipes.

Let the Scalp Breathe

If you spend several hours wearing a headscarf or hat each day, try to choose a looser garment to let air flow circulate to your scalp. When you're at home, leave your head bare if possible to prevent sweat and oil from becoming trapped.

Support Skin Health

Getting the right nutrients helps maintain the health of your skin, which means you'll experience fewer breakouts. Make sure you consume at least the recommended daily amount of vitamins A, D and E, either in your diet or with an over-the-counter supplement. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, whole grains and veggies supports overall wellness, which in turn keeps the scalp healthy.

Take Notes

Scalp breakouts sometimes result from allergic reactions. When you notice a blemish, write down your recent food and beverage intake. You may begin to see a pattern of acne that occurs when you eat certain ingredients, which will allow you to prevent the issue by avoiding these triggers. 

See a Dermatologist

Some cases of scalp acne require medical treatment. Your dermatologist may prescribe stronger acne medications, light therapy, antibiotics or steroids to resolve serious breakouts that don't respond to self-care at home.

Keep in mind that it can take up to six weeks to notice a difference in your scalp with these strategies. See your doctor if your acne continues with treatment or causes more severe symptoms, such as inflammation, infection and hair loss. 

Surprising Fruits That Have Almost Zero Fiber

Most Americans need to get more fiber in their diets. According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, only 1 in 20 people in the U.S. eat enough fiber every day.

There are some people, however, that have the opposite problem. They have to limit certain types of fiber in their diet to prevent painful health problems. This can be very tricky because it means finding a careful balance between nutritious natural foods and low-fiber options.

Why Do Some People Need To Control Fiber Levels?

Fiber plays an important role in gut health and digestion, softening stool, lowering cholesterol levels and balancing blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, some health conditions are sensitive to fiber:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis (an inflammatory condition of the colon)

Sometimes, your doctor will tell you to follow a low-fiber diet after surgery or before a colonoscopy. Make sure to ask your doctor before reducing the amount of fiber you eat.

What Kind of Fruit Is Low in Fiber?

The purpose of eating less fiber for a while is to give your colon a chance to rest and heal. After that, you can usually go back to eating a normal amount of fiber. Here are the best fruits to eat while following a low-fiber diet:

  • Watermelons: 0.8 g (1 cup)
  • Papayas: 2.5 g (1 cup)
  • Cantaloupes: 1.3 g (1 cup)
  • Peaches: 1.7 g (1 peach)
  • Plums: 1.0 g (1 plum)
  • Cherries: 1.3 g (10 cherries)
  • Nectarines: 2.2 g (1 nectarine)

Real fruit juices (not the concentrated stuff with added sugar) without pulp are another great source of vitamins. These juices have next to no fiber.

What Type of Fiber Should You Limit With IBS?

If you have IBS, you don’t need to rush to cut all fiber from your diet. It’s smart to talk to your doctor first. In reality, you may not need to cut many fruits or veggies out of your diet at all.

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It’s there to help your gut and smooth things out. People who have IBS need more soluble fiber, not less. Where can you get it?

  • Low-FODMAP veggies: Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, bell peppers, avocados and olives
  • Low-FODMAP fruits: Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, kiwis, cantaloupes and honeydew melons
  • Cooked/sauteed greens: Bok choy, spinach, arugula, collard greens and cabbage

On the other hand, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve; it’s the roughage that pushes waste through the intestines. For people who have IBS, insoluble fiber can sometimes trigger symptoms such as pain and bloating.

How Long Should You Follow a Low-Fiber Diet?

Normally, you should only limit fiber intake for as long as your doctor tells you. If you're recovering from a specific surgery, for example, you may follow a low-fiber diet for about a month. After that, go back to eating good levels of fiber so your digestive system stays happy and healthy.

In the case of IBS, it's not a question of following hard and fast rules. You need plenty of fiber normally, but you also want to avoid flareups. Usually, you need to discover which foods trigger problems personally and look for healthy alternatives. If you're sensitive to raspberries, eat cranberries or blueberries instead.

5 of the Biggest Coffee Myths Debunked!

For a long time, coffee was a guilty pleasure. Now, you can raise your head proudly and tell the whole world that you love coffee! Don't let these five coffee myths stop you from enjoying a cup of dark and delicious java.

Myth: Coffee Dehydrates You

Drinking more water is always a good thing, but your morning cup of joe isn’t responsible for dehydration. Coffee is a mild diuretic, which can make you go to the bathroom more, but the effect is so slight that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. In case you were wondering, the water in coffee does count toward your goal of 2 liters of water per day.

Myth: Coffee Isn’t Healthy for You

Coffee is rich in antioxidants, nutrients that help protect your body. Many people get more antioxidants from their daily dose of coffee than from fruits and veggies!

All of these antioxidants can add up to major health benefits. People who drink coffee regularly have a far lower risk of many diseases:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver problems
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Plus, caffeine from coffee can increase your metabolism and help you burn more fat from exercise. Coffee can improve your energy level, alertness, memory and mood!

That said, you can have too much of a good thing. Excess caffeine can raise your blood pressure. How much is OK? Stick with two to five cups a day and you’ll be fine.

Myth: Dark Roast Has More Caffeine Than Light Roast

Dark roast coffee has a stronger flavor, so it must be higher in caffeine, right? Wrong. Actually, light roasts usually have a bit more caffeine ounce for ounce because the beans are smaller.

Myth: Coffee Is Addictive

Some people have given up drinking coffee because family members say the person is “addicted.” Honestly, this one gets me upset. Comparing coffee to other addictive substances is a real stretch of the imagination. There’s no reason to feel guilty for liking coffee (or dark chocolate or other perfectly natural foods with caffeine).

Why the whole “addicted” shtick? Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can technically produce a tiny amount of physical dependence. If you stop drinking coffee abruptly, you may get a headache or have trouble concentrating for a few days. That’s it.

On the other hand, addiction to alcohol or opioids requires professional rehabilitation and has life-threatening health risks. There’s just no point of comparison between those things and a harmless cup of coffee.

Myth: The Freezer Is the Best Place To Store Coffee

You bought a few bags of your favorite coffee beans from a store you only visit every few months. You want to keep that oh-so-irresistible aroma smelling fresh. Where should you store the beans? Not in your freezer!

For the freshest coffee, keep those magical beans in a cool, dry place. Your freezer may be cool, but it’s not dry. Freezers have a lot of moisture. They can strip your coffee of its delightful freshness and ruin its flavor with weird smells.

The best place to keep coffee beans is in an airtight container in your cupboard. Give each bag its own container and enjoy rich, intense flavors for months!

Flock to Fonio for Whole-Grain Goodness

While few outside West Africa find fonio among their usual fare, this ancient grain is gaining popularity because of its exceptional health benefits. Pierre Thiam, a restaurant owner from Senegal, touted fonio as the next big alternative to quinoa and brought the grain to the menus of his Brooklyn restaurants back in 2008. Today, you might be able to pick up fonio in your neighborhood if you live near Whole Foods or are lucky enough to have a local African food market.

Africans who consume fonio frequently often consider it a celebratory meal, particularly in Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. If you're curious about this world whole-grain staple, this guide provides the knowledge you need to incorporate it into your diet.

Nutritional Content of Fonio

Half a cup of cooked fonio has just 170 calories and limited fat, salt and cholesterol. It also has 4% of your recommended daily value of both fiber and iron, as well as plenty of nutritious B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper. If you need more calcium in your diet, fonio can deliver with more of this nutrient than any other grain.

Health Benefits of Fonio

First, good news if you're gluten-free; fonio provides a safe alternative for those who can't digest wheat protein. It's also rich in amino acids and micronutrients you won't find in wheat, corn or rice. These compounds help with the growth of new skin, nail and hair cells. Your body cannot make these nutrients, so you must get them from your diet.

The B vitamin content supports the function, growth and development of the body's cells. Iron and copper build connective tissue and red blood cells while magnesium helps the body produce energy. Zinc assists with synthesizing proteins and supporting immunity.

Fonio consists of complex carbohydrates that the body digests all day long, which helps you feel full and keeps blood sugar steady. As a whole grain, it also has the proven ability to reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stomach, pancreatic and colorectal cancer. Research also associates whole-grain consumption with avoiding obesity and keeping the body's gut health in balance. 

Fonio also has a low glycemic index. That means it can help people who have diabetes control their blood sugar levels.

How to Enjoy Fonio at Home

Many describe fonio as combining the texture of quinoa with the nutty earthiness of couscous. If you're familiar with cooking grains, you're ready to cook fonio. The grain is just as versatile as its more common cousins, such as rice, farro and barley. You can use it in place of any of those choices in salads, soups and stews. It also works well in a traditional preparation as a porridge. If you can get your hands on fonio flour, you can even use it in your favorite cakes, muffins, and baked goods.

Aren't sure where to start? Use these simple steps for perfect fonio every time:

  • Boil 1 cup of salted water over high heat.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup of dry fonio and cover tightly.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes or until the grain absorbs all liquid. 
  • Remove lid and fluff with a fork. The fonio is done when it's tender yet firm, without excess moisture.

You can also look for any recipe with millet since fonio is part of the same family and offers a good one-to-one substitute. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that whole grains should make up about half of the bread and grains you eat each day, so spice up your routine by adding fonio to the mix.

How Cutting Out Alcohol Can Impact Your Energy

After a stressful day at work or an evening spent listening to kids fighting, a few big swigs of alcohol can sound pretty appealing. A lot of people think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying booze regularly and watching your worries melt away. Sure, they’ll still be there in the morning, but the brief reprieve can be really nice.

But before you reach for a cold one, you should realize the impact alcohol consumption can have on your overall energy levels. Since we’re at the cusp of another new year, I figured it’s the perfect time to talk about how cutting out alcohol can impact your energy and improve your quality of life.

What Alcohol Does To Your Body

Do you live for Happy Hour? If so, have you ever stopped to wonder why drinking regularly actually causes you to feel less happy and more lifeless? Do you notice a huge slump in energy after a night of partying? That’s because alcohol is a sedative. It can make you drowsy, but it often leads to low-quality, interrupted sleep (which can leave you looking and feeling like a zombie the next day).

If you feel physically drained all the time, it may be time to take a good, hard look at alcohol (just a look, not a drink!) It may be the sneaky villain you didn’t realize was stealthily sabotaging your life while pretending to be your best friend. That’s pretty rotten.

What Happens When You Cut Out Alcohol

If you’re still not convinced that alcohol is the archenemy of your energy levels, here are a few of the amazing things you could experience if you cut it out of your life. Just pretend it’s your ex-boyfriend and there’s no way you’re letting him weasel his way back into your heart. Once you kick alcohol out for good, you’ll likely experience:

  • Increased Energy: Without the constant impact of morning hangovers, you’ll be amazed at how energetic you feel when you wake up. You’ll also experience higher-quality sleep when you don’t drink alcohol.
  • Fewer Food Cravings: Did you know booze can trigger food cravings? It activates AgRP neurons, which trigger intense hunger and can make you crave unhealthy things.
  • Easier Weight Maintenance: Alcohol is not a low-calorie drink, which means you’ll have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight if you consume it regularly. When you stop drinking those extra calories, your waistline will respond in kind.
  • Decreased Risk of Dehydration: Alcohol is dehydrating because it’s a diuretic and flushes water out of your body. Replacing alcohol with a healthier choice (such as fruit-infused water) is a great way to increase hydration.
  • Improved Digestion: One of the surprising drawbacks of alcohol consumption is that it can alter the gastric motility of your stomach. This means it can make it harder for you to digest the food you eat. When you stop drinking alcohol, your digestion will most likely improve.
  • Reduced Risk of Disease: Excess alcohol consumption is linked to diseases such as heart disease and liver disease. When you stop indulging in booze, you reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening health conditions.
  • Healthier Skin: Since alcohol is a diuretic, it can dry out your skin and cause it to look dull and saggy. Fortunately, you can reverse this effect by simply staying away from alcohol. It only takes a few days of abstinence in most cases to notice that the skin looks and feels plumper and more hydrated.

This list is just a small snapshot of how your life could improve if you decided to cut alcohol out of it. Not everyone can quit cold turkey, and that’s OK! As long as you’re consistently making efforts to consume less booze, you’ll eventually find it easier to replace alcohol with healthier options. When things get hard, just remember you’re doing this to improve your health and energy.

Top 3 Reasons To Support Cruelty-Free Products

When looking at your favorite little furry friend, cat, dog, bunny, etc., can you ever imagine doing anything to harm them? Animal testing subjects familiar animals and breeds to unnecessary and inhumane torture for the sake of profits.

According to the organization Cruelty-Free International, over 115 million animals, including dogs and cats, are subject to tests and abuse in labs worldwide. The best way to protest such practices is to purchase cruelty-free products. There are at least three reasons to support cruelty-free brands.

1. Animal Testing Is Unnecessary

While many brands, including cosmetics producers, claim animal testing is necessary to prove human safety and efficacy, this is a lie. There are over 7,000 ingredients producers can choose from to formulate their products that are deemed safe. The extensive list is more than enough to create many products, but producers want to make more money.

The only reason manufacturers still favor animal testing is for financial gains. If a company can find a new chemical or compound, it can call itself innovative, regardless of the uniqueness of the discovery. Animals are often mistreated in the pursuit of chemicals and compounds that act similarly or identically to other proven and known compounds, meaning testing is abuse for profit.

Additionally, alternative testing practices, including in vitro and computer model testing, are equally effective compared to animal testing and are frequently more advantageous. Animal testing is unnecessary.

2. Animal Testing Is Cruel

Many people do not realize the extent of the cruelty animals experience during testing. The animals are often locked in inadequately sized cages. They are blinded, maimed, tortured, and killed. Their lives are nothing but suffering and fear.

Governments worldwide are beginning to recognize the mistreatment, torture, and abuse of testing, placing bans on the practice. Israel, New Zealand, Norway, India, and the EU have banned animal testing. Unfortunately, the U.S. still allows the practice.

In many laboratories, beagles are favored as test subjects because of the breed's docile nature. In 2013, 67,772 dogs and 24,221 cats were subjects of tests. As with any other laboratory animal, these domesticated species were deprived of the fundamental rights we allow our pets.

Choosing cruelty-free products is not an immediate resolution to animal testing, but it does send a message to brands that consumers are against the practice. With enough focus and pressure from consumers about cruelty-free options, businesses, politicians, and brands might take a closer look at animal testing and reassess it.

3. Cruelty-Free Is Environmentally Friendly

Many consumers want natural products, items with fewer additives and formulated compounds. Truly natural products can have less impact on the environment when produced or eventually discarded. Average cosmetic products can lead to toxic interactions with the environment when washed down the drain or discarded.

Additionally, the parabens and sulfates used in many products can be harmful to you in the long term. They can lead to increased signs of aging and other skin issues.

Cruelty-free products are better for you, the environment, and animals. The number of animals residing in labs and subjected to abuse and neglect is staggering. You can make a difference.

Do you use cruelty-free products? If not, will you start? Comment below.

Macchiato Versus Latte: Which Drink Is Healthier?

When discussing the differences in espresso-based coffee beverages, it is essential to understand the problem of viewing those differences through an American lens. Most American coffee shops will have interpretations of standard espresso-based drinks. Still, when you look at popular chains, such as Starbucks, there is little difference between a macchiato and a latte. However, there should be a significant difference between these two drinks, and there is a noticeable one when visiting coffee shops in Rome or Venice. 

Therefore, to help compare the differences between a macchiato and a latte, it is crucial to examine the drinks from an aficionado's perspective. It is necessary to look at the drinks by definition and benefits.

What Is a Macchiato?

A macchiato is an espresso-based drink. What sets it apart from other coffee beverages is that it uses only a little milk or milk foam. In traditional shops, a macchiato will only consist of two ingredients: a shot of espresso and a splash of steamed milk. 

Because the drink only uses a little milk, it tends to have a more robust flavor than other milk-based espresso drinks. Additionally, because the beverage only has two ingredients, customers tend to get a smaller portion, typically 1 1/4 oz. 

Nutritional Information 

The size of the drink and its minimal use of milk play a substantial role in the beverage's caloric content and other nutritional factors. The minimal use of milk results in fewer calories than other espresso-based drinks, making it a healthier option for those who do not like black coffee.


Depending on the size of your macchiato, the drink might have around 80 mg or more of caffeine. As most American portions are larger than traditional servings, a macchiato might have as many as 120 mg.


Macchiato has several potential benefits. While most coffee drinkers will know that regular coffee has several health benefits, they can underestimate the advantages of this espresso-based drink. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Blood pressure control 
  • Increased or improved concentration 
  • Improved energy and feelings of wellness 

However, as beneficial as a macchiato can be in moderation, drinking too much can lead to problems. It is necessary to find a balance, so you do not overindulge.

What Is a Latte?

The common term for a latte is a Caffe latte or translated as a milk coffee. The drink calls for topping espresso with steamed milk, followed by foamed or frothed milk. It is a creamier concoction. 

Because of the construction of a latte, coffee shops can offer several varieties of the drink, such as caramel or chocolate. Additionally, baristas can use dairy or vegan milk, like almond or oat.  


By design, a latte contains more calories than a macchiato. The amount of milk used in the drink creates a larger beverage and contributes to its caloric heft. In comparison, a macchiato is a healthier choice.


While some lattes can contain as few as 80 mg of caffeine, most have around 120 mg because of their size. Essentially, the caffeine content relates to size and ingredients.


As with every coffee beverage, a latte offers some benefits. For those interested, a latte can: 

  • Prevent diabetes 
  • Reduce risks of cardiovascular disorders 
  • Improve skin health

Which Drink Is Healthier?

A macchiato has fewer calories and typically less caffeine than a traditional latte. However, because of the variations and sizes offered at coffee shops, it is possible caffeine levels might be equivalent. Still, a macchiato is the healthier choice in terms of calorie content. 

Which coffee drink is your drink of choice? Comment below.

8 Reasons To Love Kettlebells

Typically, when people want to focus on fitness, they invest in large machines and equipment. The expense for a full gym setup can reach into the thousands, but there are effective full-body alternatives, including kettlebells.

Kettlebells are one of the most effective pieces of home gym equipment currently on the market. The odd-shaped balls with large angular handles are popular among trainers and enthusiasts because of the ease of design and integration into workout routines.

If you are looking to create your home gym, you should start with a variety of kettlebells. These unique tools provide several benefits for the average to experienced fitness level.

1. Grip

Have you ever wanted to improve your grip strength but struggled to find an effective tool or piece of equipment. The kettlebell not only requires grip strength but also helps build strength in the hands.

Using the equipment as a preventative for specific genetic conditions, such as arthritis, can help prolong use and movement. The best part is, the kettlebells come in various weights to suit all skill and strength levels.

2. Cardio

A kettlebell workout is about continuous movement. Because you maintain motion, these workouts are excellent alternatives to cardio workouts requiring running, meaning you can get your cardio in while avoiding unnecessary impacts.

3. Space

Many homeowners want to create a private gym in their house but lack the space for large equipment. Even free weights can take up a significant amount of room. Kettlebells do not, thankfully. You can have a complete set of kettlebells without taking up more than a corner of your basement, garage, or bedroom.

Additionally, if you want to avoid having unsightly gym equipment taking up permanent residence in your bedroom or another area, consider the size of kettlebells. The equipment is small and can easily be stored in a closet or under a bed.

4. Portability

The small size of kettlebells means they are incredibly portable. You can exercise anywhere in your home, and if the urge strikes, you can pack the kettlebells in your car and head to your favorite outdoor location.

5. Time

Because kettlebells provide a full-body workout, the routine is typically quicker than using traditional equipment. You can find many training series to coach you through the workout routines. Additionally, you can look on YouTube for tutorials if you want to save some money.

6. Coordination

There are many kettlebell exercises that require hand-eye coordination. Additionally, depending on the routine and stance, workouts can require full-body coordination. Again, this places kettlebells above other equipment.

7. Balance

Beyond coordination, kettlebells require balance. The entire process is an excellent option for people wanting to improve their flexibility, balance, and mobility. However, before you opt for kettlebells, consider talking to your doctor to discuss your plans.

8. Conditioning

Kettlebells are excellent tools for full-body conditioning. From cardio to weightlifting, you will build muscle and stamina throughout your body.

When looking to create a workout space at home, wait to purchase large machines and weight sets. Kettlebells provide many of the same benefits while saving you money and space.

Would you ever use kettlebells? Comment below.

The Best Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A may not sound as exciting as kimchi or bee pollen, but it gets the job done. It’s an amazing vitamin that takes care of countless systems in the body, including your immune system, eyes, muscles and bones. Why is it important for your health?

1. Preventing Night Blindness

Do you remember how your mom always told you that eating carrots would help you see better at night? She was right, in a way. Carrots have a lot of beta-carotene, which the body turns in vitamin A. This vitamin helps make your eyes sensitive to tiny amounts of light in darkness.

When someone has night blindness, there’s a good chance they have a deficiency of vitamin A. Night blindness is when you can see fine during the day but have a hard time seeing in the dark. This condition can be dangerous if you try to drive at night.

2. Slowing Down Age-Related Eyesight Problems

Of all the senses that I want to protect, I think my eyes are most important to me. The thought of losing my vision or having eyesight problems really scares me. It turns out that making sure you get enough beta-carotene can help keep your eyes safe.

Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant. It protect your cells against free radicals, dangerous molecules that come from toxins. Scientists believe that free radicals play a part in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or retina damage. Beta-carotene may lower your risk of this serious eye problem by a whopping 25%!

3. Keeping Your Skin and Hair Hydrated

Who doesn’t want smooth, supple skin and lustrous, vibrant hair? I sure do. You can imagine how happy I was to find out that vitamin A helps with that, too!

This super vitamin helps maintain healthy levels of natural moisturizing oils for your skin and hair. It can even help you avoid acne breakouts.

4. Strengthening Your Immune System

Vitamin A is like the top general of your body’s germ-fighting army. It’s responsible for both offense and defense, supporting the systems that trap viruses and bacteria before they get you sick. Vitamin A also helps increase the number of white blood cells in your body, which hunt and destroy microbes during an infection.

What does this mean for you? Having plenty of vitamin A can increase your defenses against invaders, reduce the severity of infections, help you recover faster and even heal injuries more quickly.

Who Needs Vitamin A Supplements?

There are two forms of vitamin A: one that’s ready for your body to use and another that needs to be “activated." The first type is what you get in vitamin supplements. The second includes beta-carotene, which gets turned into active vitamin A as the body requires.

Only take a supplement for vitamin A if you have a deficiency. Your doctor can help you find out if that’s the case.

Including more beta-carotene in your diet, on the other hand, is perfectly safe. Look for orange, yellow and green leafy vegetables:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Butternut squash
  • Bell peppers

Vitamin A is essential for good health. It’s like olive oil — you use it in so many recipes that the kitchen just isn’t complete without it.